Overcoming hurdles for innovation in industrial biotechnology in Europe Spain Workshop Report

Overcoming hurdles for innovation in industrial biotechnology in Europe Spain Workshop Report

Main topic: Regional profiles
Document / search engine: Overcoming hurdles for innovation in industrial biotechnology in Europe Spain Workshop Report
Framework project: The Industrial Biotech Research and Innovation Platforms Centre - towards Technological Innovation and solid foundations for a growing industrial biotech sector in Europe
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Website link: http://industrialbiotech-europe.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Spain-Workshop-Report.pdf
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The third BIO-TIC regional workshop was held at the Palacio de Congresos de Toledo, Toledo, Spain on 25th September 2013 and brought together 29 participants to discuss the potential for IB, to identify hurdles and enablers, and to suggest novel mechanisms by which IB uptake could be facilitated in Spain. Biotechnology is the third largest contributor to GDP in Spain although it has suffered as a result of the financial crisis. Nevertheless, Spain has the dynamism and potential to exploit industrial biotechnology in the future should several technological and non-technological hurdles be overcome.
The market for IB products in Spain has been marred by a series of controversies. Indeed, participants indicated that the most significant hurdle to the IB industry in Spain was related to issues surrounding the negative public perception of bio based materials. Other hurdles ranged from inefficient technology transfer, a lack of investor confidence in IB, and a lack of a harmonised regulatory framework. New business models need to be developed to promote investment because whilst venture capitalist funds are the funding stream of choice in Spain, there is currently a lack of VC funds available. Ensuring a stable and quality feedstock supply in Spain was perceived to a major technical and non-technological hurdle to developing an effective IB industry.
A wide range of mechanisms by which the IB industry could be promoted in Spain were suggested and discussed within the workshop. The current issues surrounding the negative public perception of IB products could be addressed by providing timely and accurate non-biased- information on the IB industry, signposting successful case studies and highlighting how IB can address issues of importance to people including employment, environment and social issues. Increasing knowledge of IB could also promote industrial investment. Investments in IB could also be promoted by strengthening corporate venture capital and  alternative fiscal incentives, tax bonuses, and the development of public private partnerships on a long term basis. Further measures discussed included the development of tools to allow direct contact with investors in specific sectors and protective measures at the EU, national and regional level to help promote the industry. Feedstock availability needs to be improved in Spain, but users need to offer attractive prices to producers and buyers in order to access this resource. It was suggested for example that the CAP should be amended to support non-food agricultural products and that multi-feedstock facilities should be developed to overcome any issues with the availability or quality of one particular feedstock. Feedstock hubs should be developed in order to collate material, but there is a lack of information on how much feedstock and waste is available in different regions, and this is compounded by market restrictions on transferring waste between different regions in Spain. Regulations on waste biomass use are needed. Feedstock quality could be ensured through the development of clear standards specifying the quality needed for different applications.


Countries/regions described/represented: Spain
Year: 2014